Ev­ery­one gets a ‘fair-go’ in Aus­tralia

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - NEWS REVIEW -

Lisa Ring (above), a 34-year-old char­tered ac­coun­tant from Rath­farn­ham in Dublin, tells a typ­i­cal tale of the Irish “ac­ci­den­tal em­i­grant” ex­pe­ri­ence in Aus­tralia. She trained with Ernst & Young in Dublin be­fore the re­ces­sion hit and her con­tract ended. She, along with most of her ac­coun­tant friends, headed for Syd­ney and set­tled around Bondi and Coogee.

“I got the dream job in Ya­hoo 7, on triple fig­ures,” she says. Hav­ing in­tended to spend just three months in Aus­tralia, Ring was with Ya­hoo for four years be­fore leav­ing Syd­ney to travel. On this trip she met her Aus­tralian hus­band-to-be. The cou­ple now live in the re­gional town of Dubbo, with their three chil­dren. “We were able to buy a four-bed­room house with a mas­sive back gar­den.”

Aus­tralian com­pa­nies place a lot of em­pha­sis on a pos­i­tive work-life bal­ance, says Ciara Moore (above), a 32-year-old nurse from Grey­stones who em­i­grated to Lon­don af­ter grad­u­at­ing in 2012, be­fore mov­ing on to Syd­ney in 2015. “Work starts on time, for the most part fin­ishes on time, and I do not re­mem­ber the last time I could not take a lunch break, un­like when I trained in Ire­land.”

In­ten­sive care nurse Su­san Mol­loy (30) ar­rived in Syd­ney in Fe­bru­ary. Bet­ter wages were a huge draw; her salary is now al­most dou­ble what it was in Ire­land, where she earned just ¤18 per hour. “The cost of liv­ing is higher here but it is rel­a­tive to what you earn. My qual­ity of life has vastly im­proved.”

For 26-year-old pri­mary school teacher Sinead Carr, Aus­tralia of­fered bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties than the prospect of go­ing on a “panel” for tem­po­rary work in Ire­land. She and her part­ner ar­rived in Aus­tralia with work­ing hol­i­day visas in May 2017. She spent the first year work­ing ca­sual teach­ing con­tracts in Mel­bourne, while he worked in con­struc­tion and land­scap­ing. “Within a few short months of hard graft­ing among the Irish ‘tradies’ in Mel­bourne, he was earn­ing $50 an hour. I was earn­ing $360 a day, pick­ing and choos­ing when and if I would work.” The cou­ple have since moved to a re­mote indige­nous com­mu­nity in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, where she was of­fered a teach­ing con­tract with a salary of $90,000, two re­turn flights a year, 12 weeks’ paid hol­i­days, and a three-bed­room house rent-free.

For those in con­struc­tion, the in­fra­struc­ture projects around Aus­tralia of­fer in­com­pa­ra­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties for ca­reer pro­gres­sion. Elec­tri­cian Stephen Pol­lock was work­ing as a “sparkie” for a small firm be­fore he left Ire­land eight years ago. Now liv­ing in Perth, he is a main­te­nance su­per­vi­sor on Gor­gon, one of the world’s largest LNG plants. “I would never have got those kinds of op­por­tu­ni­ties in Ire­land,” he says.

For Neil O’Sul­li­van, who has lived in Syd­ney since 2011 and opened the city’s first in­frared sauna Nim­bus & Co with his fi­ancée Su Tut­tle, “the best thing about Aus­tralia is their propen­sity to push them­selves”. “If you’d have asked me five years ago would I be a start-up busi­ness owner, I would have laughed at you. To rob the Aussie say­ing, ‘ev­ery­one de­serves a fair-go’. You cer­tainly are pushed, or at least given the op­por­tu­nity, to give things a go here. Maybe that’s why as a coun­try it con­tin­ues to grow.”

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